Friday, August 28, 2015

How To Deal with Toxic People In Life

Dealing with toxic people in life is a great challenge.
Especially if those toxic people are family.

There really isn't an easy answer or solution to make it all go away.
Each situation is unique and often very complicated.

As someone who has had some very toxic relationships in her life, I am a big believer in staying away from people who are toxic to us in any way, shape or form.

Nobody, no person, no relative, no one at all has the right to make you feel or treat you like you are less than you are. People who constantly criticise you, hurt you in any way or try to make you live your life according to how they believe you should are toxic.

To help protect myself over the years and to focus more on having healthy relationships in my life, I have been proactive in removing people who are toxic to me.  There is nothing wrong with standing up for yourself and you deserve to have positive, supportive relationships.

Now I know in an emotional/mental/spiritual context this might not sound like the right type of attitude to have towards people - I am not saying we don't need to be forgiving, kind, compassionate, loving and respectful.

We do. I encourage that type of attitude and behaviour.
Generally, I feel I try hard to be all of those above.

I like people.
I like to be with people.
I like to have good healthy relationships.

The reality of life is that you are not going to get along with everyone all the time.
You will have personality clashes with people in life and even with family members.

To deal with this reality, I like to give people chances.

I play the 'It Could Be' game....

It could be they were having a bad day.
It could be they are under a lot of pressure.
It could be because of depression.
It could be they have very low self esteem.
It could be they are hurting.
It could be they just don't know the full story.

If after giving a few chances and playing the 'It Could Be' game and someone is still not treating me what I would call a healthy relationship would equal...they are toxic.

I love the example Bec shared on my facebook page:
A psychologist taught me the "Three chances and you're OUT" technique. He likened it to a game of tennis...You're playing nicely with someone, then they start making you run for the ball...They make you chase the ball hard, it's not a friendly game. It's not fun for you. Eventually they hit a shot that makes you fall...You get hurt...You pick yourself up.You think..."I'm sure they didn't mean it"...And keep playing. This happens again, and you give them the benefit of a doubt. Third time...the games over... Dont "play" with that person any more.

If someone is toxic to me it means:
I will be polite to you,
I will speak to you if I have to and that is as far as it goes.

When this happens I don't dwell on it.
I simply register them in my mind as toxic and move on.

I continue to live my life and enjoy time with family and friends who I have a healthy relationship with.  This is of course, much more difficult if you live with someone who is toxic. Seeking some form of professional help would be best in helping to deal with this situation.

You will come across toxic people in life.
It is acceptable to remove toxic people from you life.
You are in control of the relationships you have in life.
You will not get along with everyone in your life.

Of course, obviously...I also look at if I am the problem and what I may be doing to contribute to a toxic relationship. There is generally, always something that we can personally improve on as well.

I also totally get that to other people I may be toxic.
I have had enough blog readers let me know just how toxic I am to them.
They move on and so do I.

There is so much more I could say on this topic but for now I hope it will get you thinking about the relationships you have in your life and remind you that you deserve to be surrounded with love and support.

If after trying everything and it simply isn't working out for could always place them on the dead list...but, that is a blog post for another day :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

3 Tips Tighten Technology Rules In Home

Right now, my kids believe they have the worst parents on the planet! All because I have been on a mission to tighten up the technology rules in our home. We have put new rules in place and it has been a battle to find the right balance homework and fun.

I am like so many other parents right now, who feel like they are fighting a losing battle against technology. It is taking over our children's lives. There is a lot of pressure from friends to play the latest Apps and Games and even from school to spend more and more time on technology.

Most of my children's homework involves being on technology. They are required to complete tasks that are either on some educational program or watching some online film or researching some facts that can only be done on the computer. With seven children it can be very frustrating trying to schedule computer time to make sure everyone meets the necessary requirements.

But, more than that, my battle is with what they are exposed to at such a young age on technology and the time spent sitting down, being stationary and staring at a computer screen. My once active children are now spending time involved in a constant mind numbing activity that seems to be happening on a daily basis in my home.

Now, I am all for technology, believe me, I love how helpful and useful it can be for our families and children in regards to education and increasing our knowledge. However, I believe it is my responsibility as a parent to monitor just how much technology is being used in our home. I take these responsibilities seriously...enter new technology rules.

In our home we rarely watch television during the week. We really have no need to. There is always so much going on in our home. I have shared previously a little about how when our children were younger it really helped us out HERE and the day I took a cricket back to our television HERE. I have a love/hate relationship with our television!

Here are three basic technology rules that we follow in our home:

1. Passwords: Nobody has access to any technology or a computer unless I put in a password. Control freak? You better believe it! This helps me to know who is on technology and what they are doing whilst on there. At times it is painful having to stop what I am doing and to put in a password but it has been beneficial in helping me keep track of what is happening in our home. I always ask my children what they are going on technology for and it helps me to keep track of homework or other assignments they may have.

2. Allocate technology time: My children have allocated technology time on the weekend. It is the only time during the week that they can use the internet to have 'fun' instead of doing school work. They hate it because I only give them 90 minutes each for the weekend. There are also rules that if you are sitting in front of a device watching someone else play a game then that is counted as your time as well. Having allocated time has been a challenge and has been met with a lot of complaining but over time it has been wonderful to see my children get outside more, play more games and be creative in other ways together. It has helped with our family unity. Right now they hate me for it but hopefully later on they will thank me for it.

3. Keep technology in an open family space: When planning out the design of each family room in our home we made sure they was plenty of desk space for our children. This was so that we could have all technology/computers on family public display to monitor what our children are viewing and when. It scares me how easy it is for young children to view inappropriate images and material on the internet. I like to monitor what they are playing, what they are watching and what information they are sharing. Even though we constantly talk about and teach them how to use the internet appropriately it is still necessary for me to monitor screen time. Another bonus is that having less time on technology means less to worry about!

These are some of the ways that we help to tighten technology rules in our home. They work well for us as parents, maybe not so much for our children. Ha ha!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Family Game Idea: Blindfold Taste Testing Game

My kids are always playing games and we are always on the look out for new family game ideas. Especially for our family night every Monday.

I thought I would share some of our favourite games here on my blog.
A favourite Sunday afternoon game is the Blindfold Taste Testing game.

It originally started because the younger kids would start to destroy my house every Sunday afternoon and we needed a way to keep them busy. Ha ha!

How the game works: so the younger kids blindfold themselves and sit on the couch and the older kids feed them different food to try. They love the surprise of finding out what the food is they are tasting.

We are lucky that we don't have any food allergies in our family and if you were playing this game with other children you would want to check for allergies first.

This game is hilarious to watch and my kids laugh and laugh the whole time they are playing it. Also as a parent you do need to be prepared that your kitchen will become a little messy after this game. You will also go through a lot of spoons in the process!

As we have a large family we divided the youngest four into teams of two and the first team to guess what the food is gets the points. We prepared the food so that both teams taste the food at the same time and when we say 'GO' they yell out what the answer is.

We place a small sample of the food to be tasted on a spoon and then feed it to the person blindfolded. Examples of food that we use:

Hommus, Jam, Mango, Chilli sauce, Vegemite, Yoghurt, Celery, Popcorn, Olives, Apple, Cheese, Red Onion, Almonds, Brown Sugar, Cucumber, Banana, Soy Sauce, Honey, Minced Garlic etc...

After the younger children have a turn, they then swap. The older kids blindfold themselves and the younger kids feed them food to try. In our house it is a loud game that involves a lot of complaining about the food but also laughter.

One funny experience happened when one of our children was fed a tomato seed. This child absolutely hates tomato seeds (weird I know!) and was purposely given this to eat (planned torture by her siblings) and when it was placed in her mouth, she had this hilarious pretend vomiting attack on the ground. The whole family couldn't stop laughing over how much drama came from a small tomato seed.

Pretty much confirms just how weird we are as a family but we wouldn't have it any other way!

Friday, August 21, 2015

running shadow fight

When we purchased our home, I had no idea there was a forest right near it.
I love to go running there and spend hours exploring different paths and enjoying nature.

For months, I enjoyed running in this forest until the day I saw my shadow.
The day of the running shadow fight!

The sun was out poking through the trees, I was loving my run and then I saw my shadow.
It stopped me in my tracks. All I could see was the negative.

My top was showing my stomach tighter than I wanted it to, my body was all out of proportion, I looked stupid in a hat etc...negative thoughts continued to flow into my mind and I started to fight with myself over my own shadow!

Ultimately it came down to this question which got stuck in my head over and over:
What in the world was I doing out in public running looking like this?

As I looked at my shape I felt embarrassed to be seen out in public - running.
My mind only saw how far I still had to go in relation to my fitness.

So I stopped looking at my shadow and started looking at the real me.
I am not thin but I am stronger.
I am fitter and healthier and I can run a lot further than I have ever been able to in my life!

I started to see how far I have really come.
I have gone from doing laps in my back yard to being able to run 25km.

As I looked at my body and thought about my journey I felt empowered.
I turned my thoughts around and used my shadow fight to make me stronger.
I turned my music up even louder and kept running.

As I ran off down my forest path I realised that as long as I don't give up, it doesn't matter what I look like along the way, it only matters that I keep trying and I keep taking care of me.

That is all I can ask of myself and I believe it is all others would expect from me as well.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

a conversation: healthy body image

We are going on a family holiday soon. The type of holiday that involves sitting on a beach, enjoying the weather and relaxing from the regular routine of our lives. One of the difficulties we are facing with taking this family holiday is the topic of what is a healthy body image.

You see by taking this family holiday, it will require us to get into our winter...enough said...right! It may be hot and perfect weather for swimming where we are going, but for us right is winter and the season where I personally don't want to get into any swimmers at all!

The discussions we have had (mainly with my daughters), are about feeling insecure with our bodies. It has been a real slap in the face for me in regards to my own personal thoughts. I have to watch what I say in front of my children when trying on swimmers and have to bite my tongue as I look at myself in the mirror.

I have a much healthier body image than I used to but I still struggle. As women we are so hard on ourselves when it comes to a positive body image and it doesn't help that there is so much pressure on us to always look good. Even though I have worked hard to go from a size 16 to a size 12 and have kept the weight off, I still struggle.

I go back and forth between two thoughts:
1. You look good for having seven kids
2. You have let yourself go.

I find it a challenge on what to say about what is a healthy body image to my children. They all have different body types (especially my girls) and so comparing doesn't work. They vary in their heights, strength and shape.

I want them to know that our bodies are incredible, amazing and a wonderful gift to us. Yet, at the same time I want them to strive to be healthy and have a good fitness level and not focus on being skinny and slim just to please others or to achieve it by putting their health at risk.

They need to work out what a healthy body looks like and feels like for them. I don't want them to look to magazines or television or movie stars or even to many of their friends for the example they should be striving for. This quote below describes exactly my thoughts on the matter:

I want them to look at the 'whole person' they are and not just what they see in the mirror. Real beauty doesn't just come from what you look like, it is much deeper. I guess, I just want them to be confident with who they are and not worry about fitting the social mould of having to look a certain way.

Most importantly, I need to be a good example to them. I need to reach a stage where my self love is healthy and realistic. I don't want to be the mum who sits on the beach fully dressed and misses out on all the fun with her children because she can't stand the way she looks or worries too much about what other people will think of her. I want to embrace who I am and what I look like and to have fun.

For so many years that has been so difficult for me. This year I am hoping that I will be happier and healthy enough in my mind to achieve that. That I will wear my swimmers with confidence (super high and lofty goal here!) and enjoy our holiday.